Wanadoo looks to consolidate £80m European account

LONDON - Wanadoo, the internet service provider owned by Orange's parent company, France Telecom, is reviewing its £80m European creative account.

The company is looking to pull all of its European above-the-line advertising into one agency. The account is currently held by M&C Saatchi in the UK.

It is thought that the review will pitch M&C against the other overseas agencies on Wanadoo's European roster. However, it is not known whether non-roster agencies have been invited to pitch. No one at France Telecom could comment although Wanadoo UK denied the story.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Wanadoo spent £27m on above-the-line advertising last year. The bulk of this was on TV work designed to raise awareness of the brand's change of name from Freeserve. Although Wanadoo has been planning the review for the past year, the advertiser was keen to wait until after its UK re-branding.

The move will fuel rumours that France Telecom is to review its advertising arrangements for all its European brands, including Orange.

The Wanadoo review will not affect the rest of Wanadoo's UK roster, which includes WWAV Rapp Collins, Clark McKay & Walpole and Initiative, which won the entire UK France Telecom media account last year.

However, Wanadoo is reviewing its online account. The move is partly motivated by a conflict arising out of the pending merger between the incumbent agency, iTraffic, and Agency.com.

A Wanadoo spokeswoman said: "We have agreed with iTraffic that now is the right time for us to both go our separate ways."

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